Offensive WorshipBro. David Chancellor
11/14/2004 11:00 AM
Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.
God was trying to get these to stop and ponder what their religion was all about. When it comes to things, t here is nothing that we can give him; he created it all. Forms and ceremonies, buildings and sacrifices, don’t impress God. He has a different interest. He wants to know what we have within us toward him. He’s interested in the spirit of man. He is interested in the humble one who sees how little he is and how big God is. The Christian wants the word of God above everything else. He pays attention to what God says. Our worship needs to be more than form and show. We see the greatness of God. We want his word, even when it gets close. The Christian who has turned to God desires the word of God.
The sacrifices weren’t what mattered, but where they had their focus. A time came when the forms of Judaism were displeasing to God. God isn’t impressed by forms and ceremonies. He wants us to serve him from our hearts. We need to get what God delights in.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Israel had rejected the ones that God sent because they didn’t want to hear what God had to say. Their religion became empty because they rejected what Christ sent. Until they accept Christ, they have no standing with God. When we accept him, he will be with us everywhere we go.
Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen. Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. But Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things? Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
Stephen pointed out that God dwells in the humble and the contrite heart, not in buildings. The Christian wants to hear what God has to say. We come to hear what we can hear. If God digs around us, we appreciate it because we k now that we need it. It matters to us what God has to say. These had killed the very one they were waiting for. When people sin, they’re doing the very same thing – killing Christ.
1 John 5:9-11
If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
This shows why simply holding a form is offensive to God. It’s because they reject Christ and call God a liar. Acting as though you worship God but rejecting his word is offensive to him. God wants us to submit to him. He wants us to serve him and to take his word seriously. How a person treats the word of God shows their spiritual condition. We should want to look and know for ourselves. We should want to know what God says, and to make it part of our lives.
2 Thessalonians 2:8-12
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Those who do not tremble at God’s word or who do not want what he has to say will end up with a delusion and be eternally lost. Israel has the forms and traditions, but they don’t have God. When God speaks, we need to listen. There are many who have rejected God. Some are religious and are deluded into thinking that they’re ok. Religious form, ritual, and ceremony are offensive to God, because they acknowledge that he is, but refuse to submit to him. God wants us to submit to him. Love is the only thing that we can bring to him. He would have us to live to accomplish his purpose. All else is a strong delusion, if we’re not submitted to God.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
The only temple that God wants is your heart. No building can compare to making God the center of your affections. We need to be tuned to God’s voice. We need God to go with us everywhere that we go. When God speaks, we need to listen. God will be offended if we settle for religion and don’t turn to him with all our heart.